Adrenal Insuficiency and Addison's Disease

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There is no cure for failure or destruction of the adrenal glands. However, synthetic hormones (hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone) are given to mimic the action of cortisol and aldosterone. This is usually in tablet form, taken 2-3 times per day. The doctor will take blood tests and check blood pressure in the early stages while the correct doses of these preparations are established. The patient will then be able to lead a healthy and relatively normal life.

Patients will often be advised to wear a Medic Alert bracelet or necklace. People with Addison’s disease are unable to produce cortisol in response to stress e.g. following a serious accident, and these Alert measures will enable medical personnel to ensure hydrocortisone is administered quickly.

Emergency treatment will be required if patients go into an Addisonian crisis. Often the patient or a family member will be trained to administer a hydrocortisone injection to allow treatment before the emergency services arrive.

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